What Happens When the Workforce No Longer Wants to Work?

Of Two Minds – by Charles Hugh Smith

What happens when the workforce no longer wants to work? We’re about to find out. As with all cultural sea changes, macro statistics don’t tell the full story. The sea change is better illuminated by anecdotal evidence: workers constantly quitting to take better jobs; zero loyalty to corporate employers; workers cutting hours from full-time to part-time; workers going out for lunch and never coming back; workers giving up on selling sugar-water for the rest of their lives (echoing Steve Jobs’ famous challenge to John Scully: “Do you want to sell sugared water for the rest of your life? Or do you want to come with me and change the world?”) and giving up on owning an insanely over-valued house. 

Workers may sell sugar-water but their hearts are no longer in it. Some are interested in changing the world, and others are interested in changing their own lives as the means to change the world.

Note that this cultural shift is global. The dynamics of the global economy are similar the world over: capital has garnered most of the gains of the past generation, leaving shards for labor; the “good things in life” such as owning a house and nice vehicle have soared out of reach of all but the top 10% of households; youth were implicitly promised “good paying jobs and fulfilling careers” if they went to university, and then they graduate into a global economy of dead-end jobs and cut-throat competition for the few slots at the top of the constantly eroding sand pile.

The global lockdown revealed several great truths to many idled workers: 1) I’m wasting my life slaving away for an employer to whom I am disposable; 2) trying to own the upper-middle class lifestyle is not worth the sacrifices required, and 3) there are ways to work less and still get by, and live a better life doing so.

Once the rats are no longer interested in the rewards because they’re out of reach, they jump off the wheel. Once the tax donkeys flop down in exhaustion and ask why they’re working so hard to pay outrageous taxes and fees, they lose interest in carrying their heavy load ever again. When debt-serfs stop and calculate their chances to pay off their debt and reach upper-middle class Nirvana, they bail on the entire project.

People found they could get by on much less than they previously reckoned. Some found niches in the informal or gig economies, others secured a quasi-pension in the social-welfare system, others decided that net-net of expenses, they were better off quitting and staying home to care for the kids rather than pay thousands of dollars in higher taxes and childcare fees for the privilege of busting their derrieres on an endless treadmill.

People realized they wanted a career and worklife they defined and controlled rather than one defined and controlled by an employer.

Some people awakened to the practicality of micro-homes and small home-based enterprises. They realized they didn’t have to sign on to a lifetime of labor as tax donkeys and debt-serfs.

Employers are struggling to adapt to this cultural transition. Those demanding employees go back to the good old days are like dinosaurs expecting the meteor-strike’s effects to dissipate in a few days.

The fantasies of fully automated whatever have been revealed as unrealistic. As with all such techno-fantasies, the proponents are never experts in the field being touted as the solution. Automation has limits. Robots break down, need to be reprogrammed, and need human co-workers (so-called cobots). Enthusiasts naively believed that because something is technically possible, that it automatically becomes financially viable. This is an entirely different proposition.

How this all plays out is an open question. The Powers That Be don’t approve, for obvious reasons: who’s going to do all the work to enable our lavish lifestyles and gargantuan gains?

Workers are voting with their feet, and that’s difficult to control. When values and expectations change, everything else eventually changes, too.

Of Two Minds

6 thoughts on “What Happens When the Workforce No Longer Wants to Work?

  1. this is just my opinion,, its not that the work force doesn’t want to work, its that were tired of being treated like slaves ,, by our employer(some) and mostly the government(all) …we would be happy to work if it truly improved our lives ..jobs no longer do that , and the draw on our incomes have come to the point that the criminal EFIO have shown there’s no point in bustin ass anymore when you see so many get away with the crimes they do

    1. I certainly share your opinion. And yes, of course there is “zero loyalty” to corporate slave-masters. They get the lion’s share while we get the crumbs. That game is bustin’ up and it will turn the tables on them. They impoverish us, so now we stop being their water-boy.

      I remember the “loyalty” I had to past employers. They knew I’d go the distance for them and they rewarded me for that. There was trust, mutual agreement: I help you, you help me. And there was respect. Now it’s pretty much just the whip, metaphorically, I mean. Overwoked and underpaid. Yep, that game is bustin’ up; all part of the uprising for justice.


  2. And what happens when those who thought about working in the medical profession (which I did–NA, EKG tech) now realize working in a profession which has turned into nothing but allopathic deception–and not just forcing “vaccines” on people–is not the way to go? I would NEVER be a nurses aide-home health aide or EKG tech ever again, no way! Same for teachers–I taught HS and JrH math in the days before 2+2=5 and CRT and tranny-gay pride crapola—no way ever again (in fact my daughter who has a teaching cert refuses to even teach now! She’d rather be a manager of a Subway….). Hubby would love to retire from being a paramedic, but he can’t….no one wants the job, so he’s keeping his job to help in emergencies, crashes, heart attacks (vaxx related or not). To paraphrase a line in one of my novels, if he “had his druthers” he’d “druther go fishing”!

    1. Not only that, finding out that ALL ailments are caused by ruining our gut flora via SHOTS from craddle to grave. Crohns, heart attacks, strokes, food allergies, eczema, asthma, lukemia etc. The black plaque was CAUSED by SHOTS. Polio never went away, they just renamed it (MUSCULAR DYSTROPHY) and it was the SHOTS that caused polio as it is the SHOTS that cause MS and SIDS. Thanks “Jerry Jew Lewis.”

    2. DL. I completely agree with you on the teaching thing even before all of this CRT and Commie Core education. My father taught in the inner city for 30 years and I refused to teach after seeing what he had to go through. I later taught in Asia where teachers are more respected and valued (politics aside). When I returned to the US, I tried teaching for a few months. Zero discipline, zero respect, all politics. That was the end of my teaching days. I now do managerial work and feel much more sane, despite living in this already insane world.

  3. As a sovereign national who has worked in a few factories in my lifetime….One of them for 27 years, I was able to see the decline and what the company (corporation) was doing while in bed with the unions. High union dues with no hope to ever strike for higher wages due to the piddley $ 96.00 every other week if we would strike. Then they would offer a 2% or 3% pay raise at contract time but health insurance would raise their premiums 4% so we ended up getting a CUT IN PAY each contract time. Then union dues would go up also. The fix has always been in it just took us this long to figure it out. This same employer that I was at USED to VALUE their long term employees. Then the International masonic Jewish mafia (govt) stepped in and offered employers MAMIN to hire illegals and retards. Making he honest man/woman work even harder because the workforce quality went way down. On top of it, work loads fell behind so they started forcing 12 hr shifts 6 days per week to try and get the “VALUED” employee to quit so that they could hire MORE illegal invaders and retards for less pay and kick backs from the International masonic Jewish mafia (govt) This way the company was guaranteed no more “long term” employees who wracked up sick days, vacation days and higher wages. I caught the dirty rat Union stewards marking by number each ballot during voting. Had to sign on a numbered line and it matched the number on the back of your voting paper. This way they knew who the non conformists or “intelligent” people were and could make their life miserable at work in hopes they would quit. This hit on employees STOPPED immediately when they were called on it and exposed. They are doing the exact same thing with Social Security now. Give a percentage “cost of living raise” should be 50% raise because everything has doubled and tripled. But they give a 5% raise and then MEDICARE raises their rates which takes away the raise. In truth….your getting a PAY CUT.

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